I’ve been working on my research, writing and quilting for a book about our money system. This means I’ve been getting by on very little. I’m living in my family home, which my parents purchased over 60 years ago. It was built in 1929. In the 1960s they remodeled the kitchen, putting in new cabinets with a maple finish and a decorative molding, a Formica counter top and a new linoleum floor. In the early 1990s they took up the linoleum and refinishing the fir floor. After more than 50 years of use, the cabinets were looking very ratty, especially around the knobs where the varnish had completely worn off. Fir is a soft wood, and 20 years of wear had left the floor looking awful, too. It was visually painful to to spend any time in that kitchen. Cleaning just couldn’t make it better. A remodel was prohibitively expensive. What could I do to make it look better without spending much money?
The kitchen is a galley kitchen on the north side of the house, so it tends to be dark. I decided to paint the cabinets white. I could do sanding and a can of paint .
I was intrigued by some online posts about covering a floor with paperbags and polyurathane and wondered if I could use fabric.
My first thought was that I would buy some batik and cover the floor with as few pieces as possible. I love blue & white, so measured and bought a blue batik to go with the white cabinets. I needed 10 yds.
I spread it out in the kitchen and decided all blue was going to be much too dark. I also realized that it would be very difficult to get large pieces of fabric to lay flat. Visiting my son, who has a 6” blue & white tile floor, I started thinking in terms of a simple ‘one patch’ design. But, what color to go with the blue? And, what should the pattern be?
I was under pressure to get the floor done by a certain date, and spent way too much time looking at batiks at every store in town (and Portland, OR is a quilter’s paradise of stores!). I’d bring home some 1/8-1/4 yds and audition them. Nothing seemed right. I considered changing the color scheme completely and tried samples of maple wood batik, creamy batiks…nothing seemed right. I can stew over color schemes forever, but I had to make a decision and get the floor done in just 5 days. I made what I hoped was a final fabric shop stop. It was a Friday afternoon and a group of quilters were enjoying a sew together by the table where I was laying out fabrics. I explained what I was doing and my struggle to find a combination I liked. One of them said, “What is your favorite color? Go with that!” Duh. I love green. So, I picked out a favorite green fabric, but there was only one yard of it!
I let go of the idea of a checkerboard of just two fabrics and I experimented with different ‘block’ patterns. I needed 10 yds total and I had 5 of the blue. I decided to get 5 yds of a mix of greens. I wasn’t sure I was going to love it on the floor, but simply had to make a decision and get going!
Time to get out the cutting mat! On to how I did it…